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Preston’s St George’s Shopping Centre has been acquired by the new retail arm of Lancashire-based property company The Adhan Group, for an undisclosed sum.

St George’s, which was previously owned by IRAF UK Dragon Ltd, entered into administration earlier in the year. It was previously sold for £73 million in 2015 and £87 million in 2010. Adhan Group’s retail arm will be investing significantly in the 270,000 sq ft Centre to attract more new tenants and ensure existing retailers continue to trade well as they return post-Covid.

The new owner is already in negotiations with several companies which have expressed an interest to expand or relocate to the centre within the next few months, joining existing tenants including H&M, River Island, Marks and Spencer, Superdrug, Foot Asylum and Matalan.

Commenting on the purchase, CEO of the Adhan Group Salim Patel said: “Acquiring St George’s is a significant milestone in the expansion of the portfolio of our retail arm. It is widely recognised as the dominant and premier shopping destination in the City and we are extremely proud to have purchased this landmark asset and intend to ensure it has a bright future, remaining central to the city’s strong retail offering.

“We identified it as an important strategic acquisition earlier in the year. It’s a very strong retail offering in a city which is undergoing a significant programme of re-development and investment with the City Council investing heavily in the Harris Quarter, Stoneygate and Friargate. We envisage the Centre cementing its position in the heart of Preston for many years to come.”

Salim continued: “As a national property company which has its roots firmly in Lancashire we are proud to have risen to the challenge and been able to acquire the centre for future generations to enjoy. The purchase was exchanged in just 48hrs which demonstrates our commitment to bringing it into our portfolio.”

Alongside its retail arm, the Adhan Group also has an industrial portfolio of over 10 million sq ft of property throughout England and Wales. Founded by Salim Patel and family in 2003 it has since grown to become one of the largest, privately owned, commercial property companies. Adhan Group’s retail arm, which is based on Hardman Square in Spinningfields, was established in 2020 to further expand the company through the purchase of shopping centres, retail parks and sizeable retail assets with a target of creating an asset value of £1 billion by 2023.

Knight Frank acted for the vendors and Savills acted for Adhan Group retail arm on the purchase.

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